On social media, one of the things I need to do more often is subscribe to accounts that show photos of dogs, because I already get a fair amount of news from the people I respect – how about their dogs? Not because I’m overly obsessed with dogs, but because photos of other dogs can remind me both of my own childhood dog and inspire story ideas in “The Story,” and the photos are just cute.
Spoilers?: Minor [potential Pollyanna-perspective scenes]
A scene early on into the narrative of “The Story” plays frequently in my mind.
It’s after “The Scene” where John arrives at Trishna’s home and becomes integrated into her family as her boyfriend. They might spend the night on the road before arriving home, because Pollyanna isn’t on the car ride and doesn’t initially see him before he’s slept overnight.
Actually, the introduction to Pollyanna’s segment plays frequently in mind.
Her part starts when she’s a puppy and some sort of voice tells her “Protect The Girl,” meaning Trishna. Pollyanna is her newly appointed service dog and can understand both that command and most all of what Trishna can say, so she can easily follow that and other orders. She lives a long and healthy life, helping Trishna as she can, and by the time John enters the story, she’s already in her senior years.
She’s not quite senile yet, though she’s slowed down.
Around that time, that same disembodied voice might tell her, either in a dream or something else “Protect The Girl and The Boy,” so she learns that John is probably someone who she can trust, but still, she’s asked by Trishna at some point directly before John arrives to let her know if she’s suspicious of him at all. Trishna doesn’t quite know that Pollyanna can understand, so she’s talking mainly as an owner would to their dog about something private, not so much as a command, but as a confessional.
When Pollyanna meets John, she sees he’s trustworthy.
Maybe it’s through the offering of a treat, or maybe through his apprehension toward approaching immediately, but however that specifically unfolds, they become fast friends.
This extended scene plays out frequently in my head.
It’s a nice scene, so I don’t mind, and it’s usually spurred on when I see dog photos on social media accounts, or my own photos of Patrick, who Pollyanna is slightly based on. How much of Pollyanna is based on Patrick or other dogs is part of that whole debate of the author over whether fiction is created or found, but I tend not to overly worry about that outside of these essays, since I just enjoy experiencing the scenes I imagine.
I could be imagining scenes from work or substantially stressful scenarios.
Instead, dogs – for me – represent something purer to this world than just what I tend to experience. I frequently have stressful encounters with others. That’s been my life’s experience. Dogs, antithetically, are only stressed when they have biological functions that need tending, which I think of like puppy anxiety. Dogs aren’t insidious, they’re honest, forthcoming, and the family ones are just all around happy to see you.
Since Trishna is fairly independent, Pollyanna is more of a service-in-name dog.
Pollyanna might still have updated service dog paperwork and serve the need of helping her in accessibility situations, but unlike a seeing eye dog or a dog that might help with basic mobility, she might only help with the occasional task or to fetch someone. In those regards, she would be closer to a standard family dog, but maybe more disciplined?
I have photos of Patrick I try to look at frequently each day.
When I write the Pollyanna Arc of “The Story,” I would make a particular dedication to Patrick, since to return to the creation versus foundation argument, I might not have been able to write Pollyanna to any degree without having grown up with Patrick. Does that mean Patrick inspired Pollyanna? Does that mean without Patrick, and say swapped out with a different dog, there would be no Pollyanna? These hypotheticals are fun to explore in essays, because they help ask the question about where fiction comes from so we can create more of it, but for me, it just happens impulsively.
I have the dog avatar of one account in mind right now.
Is that dog reminding me of Patrick? Does that dog inspire Pollyanna? If anything, these thoughts might be stirred up by thinking of dogs, in general, like going to the dog section of a local bookstore, where the bookshelves might be adorned with photos of dogs along with books about dogs. If our mind palaces have libraries like these, then adding more dog-based social media accounts, along with accounts relevant to our interests, could help us access these specific libraries more often. Now whether that means they’re portals into pre-existing worlds or fabrications of our imagination, too, is tricky to say.
If I were to pick a side, I’d go with having found these characters.
I like the notion that these characters live their lives entirely independent of me, and that I am just recording their lives. Maybe with a slight Gonzo slant, since as soon as we report on something we change it, but I would like to think that a majority of what I write in “The Story” exists outside of me, and my role is to practice the writing discipline to capture that story and others in a compelling way. These essays, then, serve as my way of practicing the physical endurance of writing for as long as I need to in order to complete a scene, by way of completing thoughts, by way of thinking about things or scenes in ways that when I look back later, I can say were clear enough for me, so they should be clear enough for others.
Whether I fail/succeed is less about external success, more, did these characters live convincingly realistically?
|Sources: The Story’s Imaginarium. These specific two photos – here and here – inspired this essay.|
|Inspirations: Based on moving Trishna’s family to the suburbs from the farming environment they’d been in for years, I wrote the note on my Betcal “The Story: German Shepherd photos, Patrick, Pollyanna, backyard” and jammed on that. Not so much in regards to backyards, but that was just to say how much inspiration I was drawing from my childhood home’s backyard, subconsciously.|
|Related: Essays building “The Story.”|
|Picture: The generic picture is easier.|
|Written On: 2020 April 10 [1:53am to 2:23am]|
|Last Edited: 2020 April 10 [Adapted from Gdoc, so, second draft; final draft for the Internet.]|